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Delay Pedal Comparison / Review - Nemesis vs Alter Ego X4 vs Zoom G3X

kleydj13

Member
Messages
1,607
I put together a video comparing 3 pedals and their delay tones. The Source Audio Nemesis, TC Electronic Alter Ego X4, and the Zoom G3X (just the delays). I wanted to share in case any of you are considering the differences between these delay pedals - hopefully it can be helpful.


My Review

To start I want to be clear that my true intention is mainly selfish. I was mostly curious to know the difference between different delay pedals at different stages of the market. The G3X is a pretty entry level multi-effects. The AEX4 is more mid range. The Nemesis is on the higher end. Is the Nemesis worth $300 compared to the lower end options? Or are you really just buying features. So I wanted to do a straightforward comparison. My focus is just on the tone of the repeats. I only focused on the 'meat and potatoes' delay engines - digital, tape, analog, digital with modulation. Below will be some review of each unit including reflection on how they performed in the test to my ear as well as the time I have spent with them on my board.

Zoom G3X

I have long praised the G3 / G3X for being a tremendous bang for your buck multi effects unit. For the $100 or so you can buy one used it simply does so much. The delays in particular are quite good to my ear and it has spent quite a bit of time on my board just as a delay box. Think of it like a DL4. 3 independent delay instances with external tap tempo capability. Also has a nice looper, tuner, and can do some nice tricks like host a compressor, EQ, or room Reverb in the background. But at $100 how does it compare sound wise?

In listening to the test I thought the G3 did quite well with the digital delay and digital delay with modulation. Not exactly surprising. But if you like digital delay as a pure reproduction of your sound then it really isn't that hard to get some great results here. But as I moved to the tape and analog delays I felt like the unit revealed itself. These delays have a lot of character and quirk to their repeats. The tape was okay. I heard some distortion in the repeats and some EQ to trim the low end like a tape delay does. But it really didn't do much warble or wow or flutter. The analog delay was pretty disappointing to me. It was dark and dull. It really didn't capture any of the bucket brigade character. Felt like the digital delay with a low pass. But the digital delay and digital with mod delays were quite good.

Overall though I still rate it pretty highly. It is the ultimate swiss army knife and if you have a tight budget it performs very well.

Alter Ego X4

The AEX4 has been my main delay for many months leading up to this test. I like the 3 instant access presets. Not all of the algorithms sound excellent to me, and many are pretty 'locked in' in terms of EQ or modulation settings. Not very tweakable unless you get into the editor and create your own tone based on one of their standard engines. But this unit aims to excel at the more vintage style delays with lots of personality and character.

In the test I thought it performed pretty well. I liked the tape sound quite a bit. Captured a lot of those characteristics quite well with some distortion and pleasing tape style modulation. The Analog delay was pretty good too. Some of the attraction of this unit goes beyond this video though in its more unique engines.

Overall I think this delay hits a really nice spot. More well rounded than the G3 with fewer weaknesses. I've seen these blow out new for $150 and at that point I think they're excellent choices.

Nemesis

I recently picked up this unit on a whim because of a Black Friday deal. I have heard a lot of rave reviews and was intrigued. In my short time though I can very much see why people like it. A really nice balance of easy to use while also being very deep and tweakable on the editor. Excellent delay tones all around. Lots of great usability features. Very small size for how powerful it is.

In the test I thought it performed very well. The digital delay was excellent, though so were all of them. The tape delay was very good. The analog delay in particular pretty much blew my mind. This is the best BBD style tone I've heard in a digital pedal. The repeats are just hypnotic. I loved the tone of this delay. Also be aware that it has the best control over the EQ and modulation of the repeats. All around a very good performer, and I think it is worth the jump in price.

Conclusion

For me personally, the delays pretty much stacked up by their price. The G3X will stay just because I like it for so many other reasons. But purely for delay I found the Nemesis to be worth the cost and was the winner for me.

Love to hear any thoughts or feedback.
 

ERGExplorer

Member
Messages
6,051
Nice comparison.

I understand the constraints of working with what you have on hand, but it's worth pointing out the Zoom MS-70CDR as well. For $100 new, it's far superior to and vastly more versatile than many other choices which cost more. I recommend people check out demos of any of its modes against other gear.
 

kleydj13

Member
Messages
1,607
I understand the constraints of working with what you have on hand, but it's worth pointing out the Zoom MS-70CDR as well. For $100 new, it's far superior to and vastly more versatile than many other choices which cost more. I recommend people check out demos of any of its modes against other gear.
If they put those unique delay algorithms into the G3 / G3X I think I'd rate it extremely high. I love the layout and functionality of the G3X, but it could definitely benefit from more updated sounds in the tape / analog realm. Even still I get a lot of mileage out of the digital and digital / mod delays.
 

TimmyPage

Member
Messages
836
The Analog setting on the Nemesis is CRAZY good, and this may just be personal opinion but I think the Resonant analog setting in the app is even better. It just nails the DM-2/Carbon Copy delay sounds. It's the first delay I've ever owned which has kicked my CC off my board EVER in the 10-ish years since I bought it (it was my first effect pedal).
 

reddog112

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,756
Thanks for the great review....I have the Zoom MS-100BT and just picked up a Nemesis here. I agree that the Nemesis is a cut above in the Tape and Analog modes. The Zoom is great for the money though
 

LordByron

The Dude abides!
Messages
9,400
If you really want to capture the sound of a big box DMM, check out the Tremolo engine on the Nemesis. BULLSEYE! :)
 






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